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Have you ever wondered if it is possible to see a rainbow at night? After all, rainbows are generally made from sunlight shining through raindrops. Although seeing a rainbow at night may seem like an odd thing to contemplate, it is possible.

Night rainbows are incredibly rare and often difficult to see, but not impossible. If the moon is bright enough and the atmosphere offers the right conditions, night rainbows, also called moonbows or lunar rainbows, can occur.

Just like a normal rainbow, this phenomenon happens when light is split up into the different colors of the spectrum. When the light bounces off the back of a raindrop, it causes the colorful display of light to streak across the sky.

However, because moonlight is not nearly as bright as the sun, the moonbow appears much dimmer. Without much light for our eyes to take in, moonbows can appear muted and grayish or even ghostly white. Only a full moon, or nearly full moon can produce enough light to make a night rainbow. Even with enough light from a full moon, there still needs to be the right conditions to produce a rain-shower while still having enough breaks in the clouds to allow light through. If you ever get a chance to see one, be sure to take in the beauty the night has to offer and snap a photo.

lunar_rainbow

Image courtesy of Starry Night Skies Photography


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Tyrannosaurus rex is one the most popular dinosaurs around, which means we study him a lot. There has been a lot of talk about all aspects of his life; how he hunted, how he moved, etc. Click here for an article about T-rex’s tail and how it helped him not only to keep balance, but also to be a better runner.

This will be one of the first in a small series I’ll do about the star of DinoDigs, Mr. T-rex. Make sure to tune in during the following weeks for more information and discoveries about our favorite carnivorous Cretaceous dino.

T_Rex_-_Field

Painting courtesy of Field Museum

Stephanie is a Science Interpreter at the Science Center and often is found in Dino Digs or Careers for Life. Paleontology, Anthropology and Anatomy are her passion and jumps at every opportunity to talk about it. Stop in and say Hello!


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The Dr. Phillips CineDome at the Orlando Science Center offers viewers breath-taking experiences that seem very realistic. This experience is made possible with the enormous size of the theatre and the special film-frame size.

To make a giant screen film, 15/70 mm film is the key ingredient, the largest ever used in motion picture history. Film-frame size directly correlates with picture clarity. Giant screen films are able to project the world’s largest images, coming in around 8 stories high, because they come from a projection of the world’s largest film frames.

Crystal-clear, multi-story visuals help to make the audience feel more thoroughly immersed in the film’s experience. Because of the screen’s enormous size, your peripheral vision takes an active role in watching the film, making you feel like you have been transported into the action of the film.

The gigantic film size is great for films like The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti because it brings a sense of realism to the breath-taking panoramic visuals of the French Polynesian, Tahiti, the region’s sea life and the action segments of Kelly Slater surfing massive waves.

Giant screen films are truly a rare experience, but don't take our word for it - come see for yourself. Tickets to any of our giant screen films are included in the price of a general admission ticket.


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The next time you pick up a glass of Cabernet, you might stop and think about the science that went into producing that fine wine. You will if you were one of the nearly 500 guests that attended The Science of Wine on May 14, 2011. Sommeliers, casual wine lovers and “newbies” alike enjoyed a variety of wines paired with samples from local restaurants.

In an event that was described by guests as “uniquely the Science Center”, sampling was complimented by seminars and workshops intended to create a better understanding of how wine is produced. Proceeds from the inaugural event will support the Science Center’s mission “To Inspire Science Learning for Life".


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Pinwheels are an age old craft that your Grandma will remember. Put together these pretty wind decorations and stick them in your garden.  Encourage your kids to observe the pinwheel to get a look at wind speed and direction.

What you'll need:
  • Colored card stock or construction paper
  • Thumbtack or stick pin
  • Pencil with new eraser
  • White craft glue
  • Scissors
  • Sequins
  • Pattern
How to make it:
  1. Print the pattern onto plain copy or printer paper.
  2. Cut the square pattern out, cutting on the solid lines.
  3. Lay pattern on top of colored paper and trace the square. Cut out the square from the colored paper.
  4. Keep the pattern square on top of the colored square. Either hold it in place with your fingers or tape it down lightly on two of the sides.
  5. Cut through the pattern and the colored paper along the dotted lines but do not cut in to the center circle.
  6. Use a thumbtack or stick pin to poke out the holes in every other corner as indicated on the pattern. Set the pattern piece aside.
  7. Take one corner (one with a hole) and fold it toward the center of the square. Fold the next corner that has a hole and fold it toward the center on top of the first holed corner. Repeat with the other two corners with holes until all four are folded into the center. Glue the folds to each other and to the center. Hold together until dry.
  8. Push the thumbtack through the center of the pinwheel and into the eraser of the pencil. Make sure the pinwheel isn’t touching the eraser or it won’t spin.
  9. Glue some sequins to the flaps of the pinwheel and let dry.
Obervations:

As your kids observe the pinwheel moving, ask them these questions...

  • If the pinwheel blows faster, what does that mean about the wind?
  • When the pinwheel blows this direction, where is the wind coming from?  What if it changes direction?
Pinwheel
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In a recent study, scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta found that fire ants form seals so tight that not even water can get through. The researchers say it’s as though the bugs are weaving a waterproof fabric out of themselves. The ants on the bottom don’t drown, and the ants on the top stay dry. Working together, the ants float to safety — even though a single ant alone in the water will struggle to survive.

Fire ants are famous for their construction projects (as well as their burning bites). When they need to, colonies of these insects turn themselves into ladders, chains and walls. And when floodwaters rise, a colony can float to safety by making an unusual boat. The ants hold tightly to each other, forming a buoyant disk atop the water. The ant-raft may float for months seeking safe harbor.

Ants_2

Fire ants and water don’t mix. The ant’s exoskeleton, or hard outer shell, naturally repels water. A drop of water can sit on top of the ant like a backpack.  When an ant does end up underwater, tiny hairs on its body can trap bubbles of air that give the bug a buoyancy boost.

But that’s just one ant. No matter how well it repels water, a single ant doesn’t explain how a whole colony stays afloat. To investigate the science behind the ant-raft, the Georgia Tech researchers went out and collected thousands of fire ants. The species the researchers collected was Solenopsis invicta, which is better known as the red imported fire ant, or RIFA.

The scientists placed hundreds or thousands of ants at a time in the water. A group of ants took about 100 seconds, on average, to build a raft. The researchers repeated the experiment multiple times. Each time, the ants organized themselves the same way, creating a raft about the size and thickness of a thin pancake. (The more ants, the broader the pancake.) The rafts were flexible and strong, staying together even when the researchers pushed the rafts underwater.

The scientists then froze the rafts in liquid nitrogen and studied them under powerful microscopes to figure out how the ants kept everyone safe and the water out.

The team found that some ants used their mandibles, or jaws, to bite other ants’ legs. Other ants joined their legs together. Thanks to these tight bonds, say the scientists, the ants did a better job at keeping the water away than any one ant could do on its own. By working together, thousands of ants can stay alive in the face of a crisis like a flood by using their own bodies to build a boat.

Ants_1


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Cady_Coleman

While thousands looked to cross “Witness a Space Shuttle Launch” off their Bucket List, Endeavor Astronaut Catherine (Cady) Coleman knocked “Play with LEGO’s in Space” off NASA’s. This is not the first time Cady has made history in space, as she was also the first person to play a flute in space.

lego-space-shuttle

Cady now gets to be the first Astronaut in History to experiment with Lego’s, in a microgravity environment, on STS 134. Astronauts will also and share results with teachers, students and classrooms via Lego Education beginning in September.

Lego

Don’t forget to check out our exciting Summer Camps, including dates for LEGO specific camps. For more info on LEGO’s in space, visit the following links:

http://www.legospace.com/en-us/Default.aspx

http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2011/04/space-shuttle-endeavor-launches-tomorrow-with-a-special-payload/

http://gizmodo.com/5802503/these-are-the-first-lego-sets-ever-launched-into-space

 


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777 E. Princeton Street • Orlando, Florida 32803 • Phone: 407.514.2000 • TTY: 407.514.2005 • Toll Free: 888.OSC.4FUN • Email: [email protected]
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